Athens is a magnificent city with ancient ruins, fascinating museums, and lively neighborhoods. As the starting point for many Eastern Mediterranean cruises, you’ll likely have a day or two to explore Greece’s historic capital before embarking on your cruise.
Deciding where to stay during your brief pre-cruise visit can be tricky given the many hotel options spread throughout the sprawling metropolis.
If time is limited, the best area to stay is near Syntagma Square and the Plaka neighborhood. This central location puts you in walking distance of top attractions like the Acropolis and Parthenon while also providing quick access to the Piraeus cruise port.
If you’re looking for the perfect place to stay in Athens before your cruise, the Plaka neighborhood should be at the top of your list. Known as the “Neighborhood of the Gods,” Plaka offers a unique blend of history, charm, and convenience.
Situated at the foot of the Acropolis, this picturesque area is a favorite among tourists and locals alike.
Central Location and Walkability
One of the main reasons why Plaka is an ideal location is its central position. It is nestled right in the heart of Athens, making it easy to explore the city on foot. From Plaka, you can easily reach popular attractions such as the Acropolis Museum, the Ancient Agora, and the Temple of Olympian Zeus.
Plus, the neighborhood is well-connected to public transportation, so you can easily reach other parts of the city as well.
Charming Streets with Shops and Tavernas
Strolling through the narrow streets of Plaka is like stepping back in time. The neighborhood is filled with charming shops, tavernas, and cafes, offering a delightful atmosphere for leisurely walks and shopping.
You can browse through traditional Greek handicrafts, jewelry, and souvenirs, or indulge in some local cuisine at one of the many tavernas. Don’t forget to try the famous Greek souvlaki or moussaka!
Near Top Sights like the Acropolis
Perhaps the biggest draw of staying in Plaka is its proximity to the Acropolis. You can easily walk to the entrance of this iconic ancient citadel and marvel at the Parthenon, the Erechtheion, and other architectural wonders. The Acropolis offers breathtaking views of Athens, especially at sunset.
By staying in Plaka, you can make the most of your time in Athens and fully immerse yourself in its rich history and culture.
If you’re looking for a vibrant and convenient place to stay in Athens before your cruise, the Monastiraki area is an excellent choice. This neighborhood is located at the heart of the city and offers a blend of history, culture, and modern amenities.
With its lively atmosphere and close proximity to popular attractions, Monastiraki is a favorite among tourists.
Trendy Neighborhood near Plaka
One of the highlights of staying in the Monastiraki area is its proximity to the historic neighborhood of Plaka. Plaka is known for its charming narrow streets, neoclassical architecture, and traditional tavernas.
It’s a great place to explore during the day or night, with plenty of shops, cafes, and restaurants to discover. Don’t miss the chance to visit the famous Monastiraki Flea Market, where you can find unique souvenirs and antiques.
Great Market Street Shopping
If you’re a shopaholic, you’ll love the Monastiraki area for its vibrant market streets. Ermou Street, one of Athens’ major shopping streets, runs through Monastiraki and offers a wide range of shops, from high-end boutiques to budget-friendly stores.
Whether you’re looking for fashion, accessories, or local products, you’ll find it all here. Don’t forget to haggle for a better price at the street vendors and enjoy the bustling atmosphere.
Access to Metro Line to Piraeus Port
One of the key advantages of staying in the Monastiraki area is its easy access to the Athens Metro system. The Monastiraki Metro Station is a major transportation hub, connecting you to various parts of the city, including the Piraeus Port.
If you’re catching a cruise from Piraeus, you can simply hop on the metro and reach the port in a hassle-free manner. This convenience makes Monastiraki a popular choice for cruise passengers.
Syntagma Square Area
If you’re looking for a convenient and vibrant place to stay in Athens before your cruise, the Syntagma Square area is a fantastic choice. Located in the heart of the city, Syntagma Square is a bustling hub that offers a range of attractions and amenities for travelers.
Upscale Lodging Options
When it comes to finding upscale accommodations, Syntagma Square has plenty to offer. You’ll find a variety of luxurious hotels that cater to different budgets and preferences. From elegant boutique hotels to well-known international chains, there is something for everyone.
These hotels boast top-notch amenities, comfortable rooms, and stunning views of the city. Whether you’re seeking a romantic getaway or a pampering experience, you won’t be disappointed with the upscale lodging options in the Syntagma Square area.
Parliament Building and Urban Green Space
One of the standout features of the Syntagma Square area is the Greek Parliament building, which is located right on the square. This neoclassical building is a must-see attraction, and you may even have the chance to witness the changing of the guards ceremony, a fascinating spectacle.
Additionally, Syntagma Square is surrounded by urban green spaces, providing a refreshing escape from the city’s hustle and bustle. Visitors can take a leisurely stroll or have a picnic in the nearby National Gardens, which offer a peaceful retreat in the heart of Athens.
Easy Walking to Plaka’s Winding Lanes
One of the biggest advantages of staying in the Syntagma Square area is its proximity to Plaka, one of Athens’ oldest neighborhoods. Plaka is known for its charming winding lanes, traditional Greek architecture, and picturesque tavernas.
By staying in the Syntagma Square area, you can easily walk to Plaka and explore its narrow streets, visit historical sites such as the Acropolis, and indulge in traditional Greek cuisine. It’s a great way to immerse yourself in the local culture and experience the authentic charm of Athens.
When it comes to finding the perfect place to stay in Athens before your cruise, the Psyri neighborhood should definitely be on your radar. Situated in the heart of the city, this gritty urban area is known for its vibrant street art scene and lively atmosphere.
Gritty Urban Area with Street Art
Psyri is a neighborhood that exudes character and charm with its colorful and eye-catching street art. As you wander through its narrow streets, you’ll be greeted by vibrant murals and graffiti that showcase the artistic talent of the local community.
It’s a great place to immerse yourself in the urban culture of Athens and snap some Instagram-worthy photos.
Lively Nightlife Scene and Tavernas
One of the highlights of staying in Psyri is its lively nightlife scene. The area comes alive after dark with a plethora of trendy bars, clubs, and tavernas that cater to all tastes. Whether you’re in the mood for a sophisticated cocktail lounge or a traditional Greek taverna with live music, Psyri has it all.
Get ready to dance the night away and experience the vibrant energy of Athens.
Fewer Major Sights than Other Areas
While Psyri may not have as many major sights as some other areas in Athens, it still offers plenty to see and do. Take a stroll to the nearby Monastiraki Square, where you can browse through the bustling flea market and soak in the historic atmosphere.
Additionally, the iconic Acropolis is just a short distance away, making it convenient for a day trip to explore ancient ruins.
If you are looking for a luxurious and upscale experience during your stay in Athens before your cruise, then Kolonaki is the perfect neighborhood for you. Situated at the foot of Lycabettus Hill, Kolonaki is known for its elegant tree-lined streets, high-end boutiques, and chic cafes.
This affluent area attracts both locals and tourists who appreciate fine dining, shopping, and a sophisticated atmosphere.
Posh Shops and Upscale Dining
Kolonaki is a shopper’s paradise, offering a wide range of designer stores and upscale boutiques. From international fashion brands to Greek designers, you will find everything you need to update your wardrobe.
Don’t miss out on exploring the famous Voukourestiou Street, known for its luxurious shops and high-end fashion labels.
After a day of shopping, indulge in some fine dining at one of the many upscale restaurants in Kolonaki. From traditional Greek cuisine to international flavors, you can savor a variety of culinary delights.
Embassy District of Athens
Kolonaki is also known as the embassy district of Athens, as it houses numerous foreign embassies and consulates. This adds to the area’s exclusivity and attracts a diverse mix of residents and visitors.
Walking through the neighborhood, you will notice the elegant architecture of the embassy buildings, adding to the charm and sophistication of Kolonaki.
Farther from Major Sights
While Kolonaki offers a luxurious and upscale experience, it is important to note that it is situated a bit farther from the major tourist sights of Athens. However, it is still easily accessible by public transportation or a short taxi ride.
If you are looking to explore the Acropolis, Plaka, or the historic center of Athens, you may need to plan a short commute from Kolonaki.
With its epic history and lively culture, Athens offers many great areas to stay for a pre- or post-cruise visit. For convenience in exploring the major sights, first-time visitors are best situated in accommodations around atmospheric Plaka and Syntagma Square.
Wherever you choose, Athens’ magnificent monuments and welcoming hospitality will send you off in style for your Greek islands and Mediterranean cruise adventure.